Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Walking through Romans: Pt 2 Desire to Visit Rome Romans 1:8-15

Desire to Visit Rome

Romans 1: 8 First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world. 9 For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of His Son, that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers, 10 making request if, by some means, now at last I may find a way in the will of God to come to you. 11 For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift, so that you may be established— 12 that is, that I may be encouraged together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me. 13 Now I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that I often planned to come to you (but was hindered until now), that I might have some fruit among you also, just as among the other Gentiles. 14 I am a debtor both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to wise and to unwise. 15 So, as much as is in me, I am ready to preach the gospel to you who are in Rome also.

Rome was the hotbed of Emperor Worship. This was the worship of the reigning Emperor starting with Augustus and ending at the time of Constantine. According to Roman Myth Julius was considered a descendant of the gods. With that Augustus pick up with that and ran… declaring himself a god and worthy of being worshiped. This was of course past on from emperor to emperor… which Augustus and Tiberius erected temples to themselves in their own honor.

One, Vespasian was even noted as stating on his deathbed, "I think I'm turning into a god." The worst emperor of those days had to be Domitian who was referred to as “the Beast” and demanded that the merchants of Ephesus be marked with 666 so that they could buy and sell their wares. It is interesting that there is a great correlation between the temple of Ephesus and the writing of John in Revelation… as the Olympic Games would be held in Ephesus and must of the pomp and ceremony is reflected in the Book of Revelation as John is stating in apocolyptical language that Domitian is not lord, but Jesus is Lord of all… yet we are not in Ephesus now, so I will head back to Rome.

Paul expresses that the believers in Rome being in such a hot-spot are thought of as having great faith. Faith to endure the heavy assault of paganism and anti Christian attitudes expressed by those not of the faith.

Paul hoped as he had visions of Spain to stop in Rome and procure some money for his journey yet also more importantly to share in their faith and impart some spiritual gifts… be that “gifts” as are recorded in other Paul’s writings or merely to add to their understanding of the Gospel in a fuller sense as many had not heard the revelations Paul had received. Paul wanted to impart these gifts to help establish the Church of Rome allowing them to have the Holy Spirit confirm their testimony about Jesus.

This was more that Paul could be with them and be encouraged by their faith as well as encourage them in theirs, than just giving some kind of “gift” to prove them being of true faith. It is a joyous thing to be with other believers. Strangely at times I have come across a fellow believer and “knew” without them saying that they were a believer. They also have said this as we let each other know. In times like that I believe it is the Spirit quickening within us that is rejoicing in the other believer’s presence.

Paul was hindered from going to Rome in the past which I am not sure whether it is known why. We can often make plans even with the godliest intentions yet God will not allow or will delay the plans as they do not fit His plans at the moment. I often wonder at how God has stopped certain plans in my own life, such as my ordination in the denomination I was in when I was a young man. Had I not fallen into the knowledge of God’s Grace I would have entered the ministry at age 24. I wondered at the time when I was a teen as to why God did not let me attend a Bible school in Canada… whose requirements were that I cut my hair short, not listen to “rock music” not even Christian, and to leave my electric guitar at home and just, (if I must) bring my acoustic guitar… I was crushed at the time, yet looking back I see God was protecting me from heavy legalism that I was already heading into,

We do not know the plans of God. We walk and trust as we depend on Him daily to guide us in our walk in Christ. We must know that for whatever reason God does not allow, it is for our best, even the most heartbreaking and disappointing times. He is a Father that loves His children.

Paul states he is a debtor to both gentile and Jew, wise and unwise… I think a better word is obligated. Paul writes of being “compelled” (1 Corinthians 9:16) to preach. He was The Bondservant of Christ to preach the Gospel to all outside of Israel. His greatest desire of all was to preach the Gospel meaning that Jesus has risen from the grave in the heartland of the earthly emperor and proclaim Jesus as the true and rightful Lord of all.


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